Exxon Editorial - Are We Getting Screwed Or What? - Positive Offset - February 2006
Here I go again. I know I said I was done ranting and raving about what transpires around us all on a daily basis but this is one topic I simply cannot pass up or overlook. I just read an article in the Los Angeles Times dated Friday, October 28, 2005. I am sure any discerning reader of this magazine is also a discerning reader of a daily newspaper or web page. The article states, and I quote, "Oil Giant Does Well; Exxon Tops $1 Billion a Day." The subhead is this: "$100.7 billion in revenue is a record as profit hits $9.9 billion. Results draw outrage." Here are just a couple of more little snippets as well from the article.
* Exxon made more than a billion dollars a day* $45 million an hour* Almost $340 for every living American
Oh yeah, this was only the company's third-quarter revenue postings. We haven't even hit the fourth quarter yet.
Here is what you could buy with that kind of profit.
* 3,300,000,000 all-day bus passes* 77,100 Hummer H1 Alphas* 3,548,387,000 gallons of regular, self-serve gasoline* 33,001,100 new Apple video iPods* 20,040 median-priced homes in LA County, which is around $514,000.
One other thing. Just after this was posted in the Times, Shell Oil reported just slightly lower quarterly results in the neighborhood of $8 billion in profit. So what does this all mean to the little people like you and me? Well, for one, I know that I am looking for any way possible to conserve fuel and look for other alternatives for basic transportation. I mean, come on, why should it cost me nearly double to fuel up my truck or my wife's SUV? As I ranted on about last month, my compensation has not increased to cover the added costs it will take to fuel my daily drivers, let alone any other weekend toys that may need fueling.
The record quarterly profits posted by these two oil giants was so severe it sparked debate on Capitol Hill, so much so that questions are now being asked as to why Americans are feeling the fuel pinch and these publicly traded corporations can make so much money for their shareholders. I have heard the debate for years that there are not enough refineries to process the fuel; hence, price increases in the summer months because demand has also increased with Americans traveling more and more. Also, oil companies claim they do not want to overproduce fuel and then have to sell off their surplus to foreign countries for fear they will not be able to sell it here in America.
Here is a notion I think these Chairmen of the Boards of all oil companies posting any profits should do: invest your companies' profits back into building new oil refineries to house surplus demand in the summer months and at the peak winter months when fuel will be needed for oil-burning furnaces on the East coast. Environmentalists have done a great job at keeping this from happening but I also feel there is a serious amount of greed being had by oil companies in general. We hear all the time about how America should be lucky to ONLY pay $3.00 a gallon because Europeans pay anywhere from $5-6 per gallon. Also, now fuel prices have decreased a bit because again, summer is well over and demand has decreased, so fuel prices at the pump are now roughly $2.75 per gallon, which should make many of us happy. However, again, I will use the same argument I did last month. Last year I was only paying $1.91 for diesel and now I should feel lucky to only pay $3.04 for diesel, which is down from a high of $3.75 that I paid in summer. So how lucky do I feel? You have no idea.
So what are the answers? First and foremost, call or write your congressman and literally bombard these people with your complaints about paying too much at the pump. Will it help? Yes and no, but this is a start. Can you boycott Exxon and Shell and any other substantially large oil corporation to make a point? Of course, that is your right as American citizens. Will it help? Who really knows, but something has got to give. America, are you listening?